Curran (Vol 1-7): It’s pretty impossible to review the Curran collections. They’re not really short stories, just little snippets from the Beast King’s perspective. We find out what was going through his mind the very first time he met Kate:
“She crouched with her hand out. What the hell was she doing…
‘Here, kitty, kitty, kitty.’
Oh my God, she was retarded and I was going to kill Jim.”
We get his perpective, feeding Kate the soup in Magic Burns… how he talks Julie into letting him out of the cage in Magic Strikes… and how he felt seeing Kate with Saiman in Magic Bleeds. In Volume 2, Curran rips into his alphas for how Kate was treated while he was unconscious in Magic Bleeds and in Volume 3, he fights it out with Mahon. Volume 4, shows us the scene where Jim explains to Curran who Kate’s father really is. Volume 5, gives us Curran’s perspective of the hot tub scene where he almost gets busy with Kate in Magic Strikes. Hot stuff!!! Volume 6 shows Curran’s POV on the day of the Panty Dinner he misses between Magic Strikes and Magic Bleeds. And Volume 7 is the second part of that story.
While these are short, they are not to be missed. You can find them free on Ilona’s website.
A Questionable Client: This story is set chronologically before the events of the first book, but it would be a much better read after you’re familiar with the series. This is the backstory of how Kate met Saiman. She is hired to work as his bodyguard to protect him from some Russians he stole from. Kate fascinates him. This is also the origin of Saiman’s quest to find the perfect form to seduce Kate. A great story for fans of the series.
Magic Mourns: This short story begins shortly after the events of Magic Strikes. Kate is recovering from her injuries and Andrea is covering for her with the Order. When she gets a call about a giant dog with its tail on fire, she goes to check it out. When she arrives, she finds Raphael, running from a Cerebus. The two manage to escape the beast and he explains that he ran into thing while searching for his step-father’s missing body.
The story follows Andrea and Raphael as they work to figure out what happened to corpse, why it’s under guard by the Cerebus and what vampires have to do with the whole thing. Of course, for me, the action just gives us an excuse to finally put Andrea and Raphael together. He’s been working so hard to garner her affection and here is where she finally lets her guard down. In the process, we see how truly vulnerable she is and why its so hard for her to let him in.
And even though she comes to call him her mate, this passage really stands out as a portend that they have a rough road ahead:
“Some part of me had hoped that once we had sex, everything would smooth itself out. But in the end, he was still insecure and I was still broken. Sex was simple. Being together was alot more complicated.”
Magic Dreams: I don’t know if it would really be fair to call this “Jim and Dali’s story.” Maybe it’s the Prologue to Jim and Dal’s story. It was very obvious in Magic Bleeds that these two had a thing for each other. This story is told in Dali’s voice as she tries to save Jim from a soul-sucking spell that is likely to kill him. Her dedication to his survival shows the depths of her feelings and it’s really very sweet. But just when we were finally getting the payoff, it ended. I turned the page and there was no more story. At that point, I cursed Ilona and Gordon in every language I know. (Granted, that’s only one language, but the intent was still there.)
I hope we see more of these two as they try to make a go of things.
Magic Gifts – Reviewed separately… here.
Magic Tests – This gives us a peek inside of Julie’s head, as Kate gives her a mission at the place she may attend school. Another student is missing and Julie must use both her training and her sensate abilities to track the girl down. Julie’s voice sounds a lot like Kate’s here, but I thought it was cool seeing through her magic colored lens. Also, we get to see Yu Fong again… the dragon teen from “Magic Dreams.” I wonder what role he will play in Julie’s life moving forward.
“A Questionable Client” can be found in the anthology Dark & Stormy Knights. “Magic Mourns” can be found in the anthology Must Love Hellhounds. “Magic Dreams” can be found in the Hexed anthology. “Magic Gifts” was originally released on Ilona Andrews website. It was also published in the back of Gunmetal Magic. “Magic Tests” originally appeared in the anthology An Apple for the Creature. Then it was published in the back of Magic Slays.